Since 2018, Hugo Moran has served as Minister of State for the Environment of Spain. He is 58 years old, has an extensive political career, and has fought thousands of battles. He is an active member of the Federal Executive Committee of the PSOE. He was Mayor of Lena (Asturias), environmental spokesman in Congress and held various positions in the Principality of Asturias.
How important is the recently approved climate change law to the economy and employment?
No country that does not have Paris-compliant law built into its strategic planning structure will be able to join the new investment and production models. It is the foundation upon which development and wealth generation must be built. It is estimated that it will create between 250,000 and 300,000 jobs.
For political formations and other environmental organizations, this is an unambitious criterion. For example, it is not in line with the one in Germany or the UK.
The standard succeeds the Integrated Energy and Climate Plan over time, simulating the goals of reducing emissions and penetration of renewable energy sources. The Commission has made it clear that in terms of ambition, Spain meets and exceeds the goals that correspond to it as a country. The standard was born with an vocation to be a dynamic tool, with the goal of incorporating greater ambition.
The waste law has been widely approved and gives companies three years to adapt
Madrid Central Supreme Court abolished, what do you think?
Madrid Central Court overturns not because of the content of the goals so much as the question of form. Madrid cannot afford the luxury of sending signals contrary to those of the rest of European cities, especially when you are waiting for the encroachment file. I am confident that the Madrid City Council will act and equip itself with a tool that will place it in the middle of the ambitious goals of the European Union. Environmental health is the health of the people of Madrid.
How will the waste law help achieve the goals where Spain is lagging behind?
We are far from achieving the goals set by the directive, and with the regulations in place, we were not expected to achieve them. It was necessary to explore new measures and taxes play a very important role. The tax discourages the consumption of some products that will end up in landfill or incineration, since there is no proper traceability for them.
Madrid cannot give opposite signals to other European cities
How much do you expect to combine with Al Qaeda?
I would like to raise zero in the shortest possible time. There are estimates for a rate of 1,378 million, 724 million for plastic and 654 for the rate of incineration and landfill. The standard has been improved with more than 4,000 contributions. Before effective implementation, companies have three years to adapt their waste management processes to the new requirements. There are companies that already meet it, which means it’s a fully achievable goal.
The Council of Ministers approved in March 581 million for purification, is it sufficient?
This number indicates the first package of the recovery plan. Water investments as a whole exceeded 2000 million. In the circular economy part there are 850 million and in the biodiversity part about 1,600 million. In parallel, we interfere in state budgets. The goal is to solve all sewage infringement files.
Investing money in water aims to solve all sewage files
What balance do you achieve on the ecological situation? The pandemic has led to a sharp rise in the use of single-use plastics and face masks.
It forces us to rethink our growth. We were consuming finite resources from the premise that they would be infinite and that they could be supplied with technology and restoration. Now we see that when we deplete natural resources, development ends. To the extent that we degrade environmental health, public health will be exposed to more and more risks, and it will be weaker. The pandemic has taught us that there will be no transition to a new, permanent and sustainable paradigm without an environmental transformation.
How are you working to avoid biodiversity loss?
The origin of the health crisis is the degradation of biodiversity. The cause of this animal disease may be and may lead to the emergence of future diseases. Awareness of this is not about joining the movements to defend whales or elephants, species that live far from our lands. It is about defending those we have in our immediate environment. In the natural environment and in the urban environment. Cities must be naturalized.
Cities must be naturalized
Conservation resources are very low.
It is very low, for example, before the financial crisis, the General Directorate of Coasts had a budget of 500 million until it decreased to 50 million in 10 years. Society as a whole understood that deterioration in health and education had occurred, but left the environment aside. We can’t spend another 10 years restoring lost environmental rights.
What can be done as the coasts are degraded by mass tourism and bricks?
We live in a country where the use of coastal resources is part of some of the most important productive structures. As a country, life centered in terms of tourism on the coast. We cannot continue in the same vein because the sea will be responsible for bringing us back to reality. Sea, climate change does not negotiate. It just works. We must find alternative solutions to reduce risks.
When does the money from European funds go to the environment?
The European Commission said that at least 37%. When designing the allocation of funds by country, we could be close to 40%, aiming for green policies. Everyone must adhere to the goal of no environmental degradation.
Summer is coming and with it fires, how are you working to prevent further damage?
We’re seeing what’s happening with climate change in California and Australia as well as in our own country. We just had our first fire of the summer. Spain has one of the best fire management systems in the world. We will maintain and upgrade our ability to intervene in extinction issues and we will convert a large part of the operations into anticipation.
As a former mayor of a mining town, how do you feel when you see the end of mining?
It was a very long process going back to the 1980s, starting the processes of adapting the sector until it reached its final stage. As mayor of a mining township, I have experienced many difficult re-conversions, with long strikes and mobilizations. One of the elements that this government created in this process was the element of a just transition. A seal that must remain and must permeate departments from now on in all audits of production models.
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